If you’re a cat owner, finding your cat staring at you with those big round eyes is probably nothing new. It’s just a typical day in a home with cats. In fact, there may have been several occasions when you were immersed in doing something, then suddenly felt like someone was watching you.
Then lo and behold, it’s your cat! On these occasions, you might have had a little scare and have laughed it off, being (slightly) relieved that it was none other than your feline friend. Do note that a cat’s stare may mean different things. This may lead you to ask yourself — “Why does my cat stare at me? Am I in trouble?”
In this article, we’ve gathered some possible reasons why your cat is staring at you and how to better understand this behavior in our feline companions.
Why Do Cats Stare at You
What does it mean when a cat stares at you? There are several possible reasons that may cause a cat to stare at you. Let us talk about the usual ones.
Out of Curiosity
Naturally curious, cats have an innate desire to know what’s happening around their space. Cats are hunters by nature, and part of this is having incredible visual acuity. In the wild, cats are always on alert, especially when it comes to something moving.
So if your cat is staring at you, does this mean that they want to hunt you down? Well, we hope not. Kidding aside, your cat may just simply be curious as to what you are doing. So if you are moving about or doing things around the room, it’s just natural for your cat to want to know what’s happening, especially since you’re sharing the same space.
Your Cat Wants To Eat Already
One widespread and expected reason your cat is staring at you is that they may be trying to communicate that they want to eat already. You’ve probably noticed that cats start staring at you around the time when you normally feed them. And when you’re heading to the area where you get their food, the stares are often accompanied by meows too, as if saying “Please feed me!” in cat language.
A Sign of Affection
Have you seen your cat slowly blinking while staring at you with their eyelids half-closed? Lucky you. This means that your cat loves you, trusting you enough to have their eyelids half-closed in your presence even when your face is just inches apart from theirs. This behavior of cats slowly blinking while staring at you is the ultimate sign of trust.
This form of body language is one of the best compliments that a cat can give you and shows how your cat has formed a bond with you. To show your cat that you love them back, you can try to return the cat staring gesture by slowly blinking while holding eye contact with them.
Finding Cues From Your Cat’s Body Language
Communication in cats goes beyond eye contact. Assessing their body language is also important to determine why your cat is staring at you.
Calm and Relaxed
When your cat is staring at you with a relaxed and loose demeanor, they feel secure and happy to be with you. A clear indication is when your cat is blinking slowly at the same time. A relaxed stance while staring at you could also mean any or a combination of the following: your cat is being friendly and curious about what you’re doing; they want your attention, or they simply enjoy your company.
Tense and stiff
If your cat exhibits signs such as a stiff and tense body, an agitated tail that is moving from side to side, and dilated pupils while staring at you, it’s your signal to move away. This behavior is your cat’s way of telling you that they’re annoyed and are threatening you to leave them be, or else! In this scenario, it is best to give them space and not stare back at them until they feel relaxed.
This is because staring back at them during this time might come off as threatening as well. Diverting your eyes and moving away will help your cat relax and focus their attention on something else. One way to distract your cat is to throw a toy so that your cat can chase after it.
Crouched, with tail tucked in
Seeing your cat’s body crouched with their tails tucked in, alongside staring at you, is a sign of fear. Oftentimes, they may be hiding underneath the bed, table, or in corners of the room as well. Staring at you with this body language shows that they are on alert for possible danger.
If you know what is causing them to feel afraid, say you’ve made a loud noise that startled them, or maybe you shouted at them too loud, stop what you’re doing and offer some treats or bring out a toy (at a safe distance at first so as not to further startle your cat) to show that you are not a threat. This may also work if what is making them afraid is a loud noise outside your home.
Why Do Cats Stare At Other Objects?
If you’ve caught your cat staring at a wall, you might have wondered: Why does my cat stare at the wall and other objects?
They Have Great Peripheral Vision
Along with being innately curious, cats have incredible peripheral vision that can see things that humans don’t seem to notice sometimes, such as small insects, shadows, and the like. Apart from this, cats have the capability to see wavelengths of ultraviolet light that humans don’t see. So if you think that cats stare at nothing, they might just be seeing something that we can’t.
They Have a Heightened Sense of Hearing
According to a study, a cat’s hearing range is between 48 Hz up to 85 kHz, which is superior to humans, dogs, and other mammals as well. So if your cat stares at the wall, it may be that they are hearing something that humans might not be able to notice.
They’re Trying to Figure Something Out
Because cats have an episodic memory similar to us humans, they may be thinking about an experience in the past and trying to figure something out. For example, when they hear something, they might remember what and when they heard that noise from before. This may be similar to when us human stare upon recalling a memory. Alternatively, if you see your cat staring out the window, they might be tracking what is going on outside.
The causes mentioned above are just some of the reasons why cats stare at you or other objects. When they’re staring at you, it is helpful to look at their body language to better understand what they are feeling or are trying to communicate. While a cat’s stare is usually not a cause of alarm, it is best to try to understand the reasons to avoid what’s causing them stress and understand what makes them happy.